Private radio stations galores in Somalia

Published on Monday 7th July 2008

Somalia: Privately owned radio stations in southern Somalia have replaced government owned Radio Mogadishu which fell into the hands of one of the warring factions in Mogadishu in 1991.

Fragamtantaion of Somalia into clan and war fiefdoms was the main justification used to  set up  private radio stations in southern Somalia.

Unlike Somaliland where consensus on emphasising print media is seen as appropriate alternative to privately owned radio stations, southern Somalia’s business people have set up private FM radio stations which created jobs, Somali Press Review report said.

Lessons from Rwanda where ethnicity based wars were triggered by mock radio broadcast had not been not lost on Somaliland leaders. That is why those in favour of private radio stations in Somaliland lost the argument for historical and pragmatic reasons.

Private radio stations did not exist in 1960s Somalia where parliamentary democracy gave rise to free press. In Somaliland print media has flourished:  three daily news papers and two weeklies are published. Thankfully, this choice can enhance local democracy despite occasional violations of the rights of journalists.   

There are no major newspapers in southern Somalia, only daily newsletters cyclostyled in A4 paper.  

Without ignoring the fact that the broadcast industry in the southern Somalia is an appreciable aspect of the enterprising Somali business community in challenging situations, there is a need to regulate the broadcast industry in southern Somalia and promote efflorescence newspapers. It is an approach that facilitates Somalia’s march towards reconciliation and peaceful co-existence.